*The Broadway musical Fela!, which just 11 Tony Award nominations including Best Musical, is set to launch a nationwide tour in addition to its scheduled European premiere in the fall.
Playbill.com caught up with Bill T. Jones, who conceived, directed, choreographed and co-authored the book to the biographical musical about Nigerian musician Fela Anikulapo Kuti, during the May 6 Tony nominees reception.
“[Fela!] is definitely gonna hit the road. Late 2011 the tour will start, is what our lead producer told me last night,” said Jones. He also said that several theatres across the country were interested in producing the production and the team had received numerous production inquiries from Europe.
The London’s National Theatre will present the European premiere of Fela!, which Jones said would be a 12-week run. “There is every indication that if it works well there, it will either sit there for a while or move.”
As previously reported, Sahr Ngaujah, who earned a Best Actor Tony nomination for his performance in the title role of the African political and musical figure, will open the London production that begins Nov. 6.
In addition to London, Jones said he had also been contacted about a Lagos, Nigeria production of Fela!, which would bring the musical full circle. (The musical is set on Kuti’s Lagos commune, The Shrine.)
Fela! earned Tony nominations for Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical (Jim Lewis and Bill T. Jones), Best Actor (Sahr Nguajah), Best Featured Actress (Lillias White), Best Choreography (Jones), Best Direction (Jones), Best Orchestrations (Aaron Johnson), Best Scenic Design (Marina Draghici), Best Costume Design (Marina Draghici), Best Lighting Design (Robert Wierzel) and Best Sound Design (Robert Kaplowitz).
The musical opened on Broadway at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Nov. 23, 2009, after an acclaimed run Off-Broadway in 2008 at 37 Arts. Visit FelaonBroadway.